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The Role of Philanthropy in Postwar U.S.-Japan Relations

2002–2006

The Role of Philanthropy in Postwar U.S.-Japan Relations After World War II, philanthropy played a critical, but often overlooked, role in driving the dramatic change in perceptions and values that enabled two bitter foes, Japan and the United States, to become the closest of allies. Using extensive archival research and interviews, JCIE conducted a major study that examined the long-term impact of foundations and individual philanthropists, mainly in the United States but also including some in Japan, on the bilateral relationship. This project was designed to fill gaps in the knowledge of U.S.-Japan relations and shed light on the historic role of philanthropy and civil society in international relations. Also, as part of this project, leaders and analysts in the fields of philanthropy and U.S.-Japan relations gathered in a series of workshops in the United States and Japan to share their experiences and discuss the impact of philanthropy on various aspects of the bilateral relationship.

The project culminated in a major conference, "Lessons in Rebuilding Relations Between Nations: The Role of Philanthropy in Postwar US-Japan Relations, 1945–75," held in Tokyo on October 4–5, 2004. Nearly 100 leaders from the fields of civil society, philanthropy, and government gathered to review the contributions of American and Japanese philanthropy to U.S.-Japan relations after World War II and draw contemporary lessons from this experience. Keynote speeches were offered by Susan Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation, and Sadako Ogata, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The conference drew on a series of reports which have been revised and was published in 2006 as Philanthropy and Reconciliation: Rebuilding Postwar U.S.-Japan Relations.

A number of articles have also been published in connection to this project:

Workshops:

Tokyo Conference (Tokyo, Japan), October 4-5, 2004


Tokyo Workshop (Tokyo, Japan), July 12-13, 2003


Cambridge Workshop (Cambridge, MA), March 8-9, 2003


International House Workshop (Tokyo, Japan), Nov. 19, 2002


Pocantico Workshop (Tarrytown, NY), Oct. 12-13, 2002